The Moore family had been supplying local industry in the Poole and Bournemouth area with bearing and power transmission solutions for some 13 years, when in 1997 they had an enquiry that was to change the business dramatically — and see Moore International formed.
Managing director Mark Moore takes up the story: “We were approached by a London-based company making parts for buses and asked to quote for a significant quantity of ballscrew and leadscrew products.
“I contacted the Swiss manufacturer Eichenberger Gewinde, and we subsequently won the business. Moreover, the quantities were such that, after a few meetings, the Swiss company asked us to be their distributor in the UK and Ireland.
“The ballscrews — supplied in lengths up to 3m — were cut to length and the ends machined to suit specific applications.
“Initially, we used about five companies to do the necessary turning and milling work, but when Eichenberger Gewinde said it wanted distributors to do their own machining, we established our own facility.
“First, we bought a ‘softening’ machine to anneal the ballscrew ends from 64 HRC to 52-53HRC, so they could be turned rather than ground or hard-turned.
“The induction heating equipment quickly heats the screw end to over 600°C, and it is then left to cool. We also bought our first CNC machines, allowing us to not only have full control over quality but also meet demanding customer lead times.”
A steady increase in customer demand saw Moore International continue to invest in new CNC machinery, including its first Hwacheon turning centre — a Cutex 200 from Sheffield-based Ward Hi-Tech Ltd (www.wardhitech.co.uk
Mr Moore said: “The high-precision nature of the ballscrews and other products we produce means we buy high-quality machines that offer accuracy, repeatability and reliability; and where possible, we double up on key items of equipment to ensure some continuity of production, whatever the circumstances.”
As the business expanded — and with a focus on linear-motion products — Moore International took on additional product lines.
For example, the company was appointed a key distributor for Schneeberger in April 2013, adding linear products from the Zimmer Group the following year.
With growth continuing, it moved from rented buildings in January 2016 and bought a much larger industrial unit on Poole’s Upton Industrial Estate, where it is today.
To add further production capacity plus physical capacity — and with exports a fast-growing opportunity (particularly to the USA) — Moore International installed a Hi-Tech 200BLMC turning centre in March this year; this is its fourth Hwacheon machine.
Mr Moore said: “More than happy with our three existing Hwacheon lathes, we returned to Ward Hi-Tech when we needed a larger and more powerful machine, and all four are now in a cell.
“With the Hi-Tech 200BLMC’s longer base, larger diameter capacity and driven tool capability, we can cut cycle times and manufacturing costs while producing a wider range of components.
“Moreover, the long base allows us to turn work around within the machine’s work envelope, which is far quicker than withdrawing the screw through the back of the machine and re-loading it the other way round, as we need to on the smaller lathes.
“Moreover, having four lathes from the same manufacturer gives us flexibility, consistency of tooling, the interchangeability of programs and simplified service support.”
Many materials are machined — including aluminium, stainless steel, mild steel, TECAFORM and PEEK — but 316 and 304 stainless steels are the main ones.
Customers are nation-wide and come from a range of industries, including medical, defence, packaging, and food and drink, which sees Moore International supplying ballscrews and leadscrews for a wide variety of applications.
Examples include high-helix ballscrews for rapid-motion applications found in rail transport, shutter doors and machinery, and ballscrews for lowering the ramps on buses — the application that started the company’s ‘ballscrew venture’ more than 20 years ago (since when it has produced some 84 miles of ballscrews).
Moore International also undertakes sub-contract work. Mr Moore said: “Much of this is making components and mating parts associated with the ballscrews and leadscrews we produce.
“By making these parts ourselves, we can ensure that the correct tolerances and fits are used and that product performance is optimised.
“As well as turning centres and other equipment, the CNC machines we have include high-specification vertical machining centres, one being a Dahlih with a fourth axis — also supplied by Ward Hi-Tech.
“We also offer a custom nut facility for any of our leadscrews; and because we can accommodate small quantities, customers can design a nut to suit their product, rather than design their product around a standard nut.
“Another service we offer is the application of specialist coatings that are designed to lower friction and extend service life, while also increasing resistance to attack by chemicals and corrosion.
“For example, the Armoloy NTDC — Nodular Thin Dense Chrome — coating ensures absolute adhesion and a corrosion protection equivalent to that offered by 440-series stainless steel, and it coats products to ABEC 9 classification.”
The Hwacheon Hi-Tech 200BLMC bought by Moore International is a slant-bed CNC lathe with a substantial cast structure, a C axis, a 10in chuck and a 12-station driven-tool turret with a 0.15sec station-to-station index time and a 2.2/3.7kW 5,000rev/min drive.
Also featured are a swing over the bed of 500mm (diameter), a maximum turning diameter of 325mm and a maximum cutting length of 532mm. The main spindle is rated at 15/18.5kW and 3,500rev/min; control is via a Fanuc 0i TF CNC system.